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The Peugeot Rally Academy : New rally programmes for talented drivers

image Very much like its track racing driver development programme, the RCZ GT Academy, Peugeot Sport is now set to launch the Peugeot Rally Academy. In 2013, the Academy will feature three talented young drivers. The top two in the 2012 “Volant 207” are already familiar with their official racing programme for 2013. Jérémi Ancian and Stéphane Lefebvre will be taking part in the ERC. They will therefore be able to develop their experience in an international series, whilst also learning from Irish driver Craig Breen, who is joining Peugeot Sport as a factory driver.


Peugeot Sport, a recognized driver development programme


Peugeot Sport has been pursuing its policy of developing and promoting talented young rally drivers for many years now, ever since it created the first Peugeot Cup. Since then, the “made-in-Vélizy” customer racing programmes have given several drivers the chance to shine, such as Sébastien Loeb, Sébastien Ogier and Bryan Bouffier to name just a few. Rebranded for 2013 as the car used changes to the 208, the 208 Rally Cup is set to be a genuine springboard for drivers thanks to the helping hand provided by Peugeot Sport, which is offering the winner a racing programme in one of the higher-level categories. Last year, the Peugeot Sport factory driver Germain Bonnefis went on to claim the title of French Gravel Rally Champion after winning the Peugeot series in 2011.  image


Bruno Famin, Peugeot Sport Team Principal: “With the Peugeot Rally Academy, we are taking another step forward in terms of the support we provide to the winners of our promotional formulas. The 208 Rally Cup* has all the required elements to be a great sporting success, with the 208 R2 which is already a leading car, a varied calendar and the unrivalled concept of offering a “drive” to the winner. I am confident that Craig will confirm all the good things that have been said about him in this year's ERC, and I can't wait to see how our winners will fare alongside him. There is no pressure on them to achieve results. It’s all about accumulating experience for these young drivers; we’re not fighting for the championship.”  image


Ancian and Lefebvre mix it with the big boys


Jérémi Ancian, winner of the last year’s “Volant 207”, will compete in six ERC rallies this year in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000. An exceptional racing programme for the 28 year-old driver who is set to drive in the colours of the Peugeot Rally Academy. Jérémi Ancian: “It’s great to be a part of this because I have been trying to get to this level for several years now. This programme will give us the chance to show our speed outside of the French Championship. The aim will be to get to know the 207 Super 2000 in the first few rounds and then try and fight for a spot on the podium towards the end of the championship.”  image


Provisional calendar:
Rallye Açores (Gravel), 25-28 April.
Tour de Corse (Tarmac), 16-18 May.
Rally San Marino (G), 11-14 July.
Rally Poland (G), 26-29 September.
Rallye Sanremo (T) 10 -11 October
International Rallye du Valais (T), 7-9 November.


Stéphane Lefebvre, the leading Junior and runner-up in the 2012 “Volant 207” will have his hands full this season. Peugeot Sport wanted to give him the chance to test himself in an international championship. He will therefore be competing in four ERC rallies in a 208 R2. As well as competing in Europe, the 20 year-old from the north of France will be entering the French 208 Rally Cup as a privateer, in the hope of succeeding Jérémi Ancian. Stéphane Lefebvre: "I’m going to have a busy year, with the French 208 Rally Cup and four rallies in the ERC. I am very pleased and I can’t wait to start racing again. The aim for me is to pick up as much experience as possible to prepare for 2014. The rounds outside of France will provide me with the best way of comparing myself with a new group of rivals from around Europe. I am already looking forward to competing in Latvia!”  image


Provisional calendar:
Rally Liepaja-Ventspils (Latvia) (Gravel & Snow), 1-3 February.
Rallye Açores (G), 25-28 April.
Rally San Marino (G), 11-14 July.
Rally Poland (G), 26-29 September.


Breen, the benchmark


Meanwhile, Craig Breen will be taking part in eight ERC events. He will also, along with other drivers, be tasked with leading the intensive test programme for the 208 Type R5, starting next week on gravel. The 2012 SWRC Champion has long been loyal to Peugeot, since he made a significant contribution to the development of the 208 R2, in testing and competition, and he is already very familiar with the 207 Super 2000, having driven it on many an occasion in the IRC. The young Irishman now acquires the status of Peugeot Sport factory driver. Craig Breen"This is incredible and beyond my dreams. I am really excited to work with a manufacturer like Peugeot Sport, I think of it since I was a young boy. To arrive here in front of a nice season is a good position to be in. My objective is to show good speed and challenge for some victories on a regular basis. For the testing program, I will give the best I can to support the development of the 208 Type R5”.  image


Provisional calendar:
Rally Liepaja-Ventspils (Latvia) (G & S), 1-3 February.
Rallye Açores (G), 25-28 April.
Tour de Corse (T), 16-18 May.
Belgium Ypres Westhoek Rally (T), 27-29 June.
Rally San Marino (G), 11-14 July.
Rally Poland (G), 26-29 September.
Rallye Sanremo (T) 10 -12 October.
International Rallye du Valais (T), 7-9 November.
All three drivers will be part of the Saintéloc team, competing in the colours of Peugeot Sport, Total, Michelin and Sparco.


* (208 Rally Cup France Calendar):
5 - 7 April: Rallye Terre des Causses
10 - 12 May: Rallye Région du Limousin
28 - 30 June: Rallye Terre de Langres
26 - 28 juillet: Rallye Terre Auxerre
6 - 8 September: Rallye du Mont Blanc - Morzine
11 - 13 October: Rallye d’Antibes Cote d’Azur
1 - 3 November: Rallye du Condroz
At the end of 2012, Peugeot Belgium confirmed that it would set up a 208 Rally Cup in the country, the final round of which, in Le Condroz, will be shared with the French Cup. Peugeot Portugal has just announced plans to create a national 208 Rally Cup. Other countries are expected to follow suit in the near future.

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